Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture in Côte d’Ivoire (ACAT CI) has conducted advocacy activities between May and November 2016 in order to raise awareness on the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (OP2) , aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. This project has been supported by the International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF) and the International Federation of ACAT (FIACAT).

In the frame of this project, which aims at obtaining the definitive and irreversible abolition of the death penalty in Côte d’Ivoire, numerous activities have been organised.

A seminar gathering opinion leaders, State representatives, diplomats, and representatives of the civil society as well as a workshop addressed to the media have taken place. Public panel discussions have been held at Bouaké and Korhogo universities in order to promote the OP2. Moreover, 5000 signatures have been gathered after petitions had been launched in several cities (Abidjan, Abengourou, Bouaké, Man and Korhogo). ACAT Côte d’Ivoire has also organised advocacy meetings with several authorities: The National Assembly, the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, the Ministries for Human Rights and Public Liberties, for Justice, and for Foreign Affairs, the Ombudsman, the National Commission for Human Rights in Côte d’Ivoire, the apostolic nunciature, and the Prime Minister’s office. Finally, radio and television programmes have been produced. A newsletter and leaflets on OP2, on the draft African Protocol and on the commemoration of the 14th World Day against the Death Penalty have been released.

Significant and very encouraging results

The ratification process of OP2 has been initiated by the Minister for Human Rights and Public Liberties, as promised during the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty which took place in Oslo (Norway). The Minister had also announced his support to the draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa.

The abolition of the death penalty has been enshrined in the Ivorian legislation: Article 3 of the new Constitution states that “the death penalty is abolished”.

The Ivorian National Assembly might soon vote a bill foreseeing the ratification of OP2. To this end, a working group has been set up and is composed of a traditional leader, a member of the National Commission for Human Rights in Côte d’Ivoire, a religious leader, and the President of ACAT -CI.

Awareness -raising activities conducted by ACAT -CI can therefore be considered as successful: opinion leaders, institutional stakeholders and journalists are today aware of the OP2 and of its content and they are committed to its ratification. Similarly, media partners are regularly releasing publications on OP2 and awareness has been raised among the national (and international) public opinion.